Old grumpy and I have a lot in common at the moment and I don’t think that I am the only one who has been feeling irritated by the weather. Despite everything, the rosemary continues to flower and seem impervious to cold.

Notwithstanding the dreadful weather of the last few months, the garden is full of colour and is also producing some surprises. I planted two Aruba Japonica, one of which was variegated, about six years ago and they have stubbornly survived without doing anything or growing an inch. On occasions I think of removing them totally or moving them to another part of the garden to see if anything changes but have never got around to it. Suddenly, in the last month not only is there fresh growth, but both plants are producing flowers by the dozen. Actually, the flowers may have been there much longer because I had started to ignore the plants in my frustration!

Aruba Japonica ‘Variegata’ with a more delicate flower than its relative.

I have been converted to tulips since I visited Derreen Garden a year ago when their amazing collection looked like an impressionist painting. Like most of the plants in the garden, I think that these tulips have been enhanced by the stone walls all of which have been built over the last few years but look timeless regardless of age.

I still have not made up my mind about the fruits on the Eleagnus shrubs which, like the Aruba flowers, have made a first appearance in the garden this year. They are plentiful and have a delicate and pleasant taste. However, they are made up almost entirely of ‘stone’, so you have to work hard to get enough fruit to taste them properly. They also leave your mouth rather dry, eliminating the taste in seconds. Perhaps I should leave them to the birds.

Continuing with the erratic of growth this year, the Ceanothus did not flower at Christmas for the first time since it was planted many years ago and is still holding back over three months later. However, the French lavender is flowering and looking very healthy. I have given up understanding this garden and have also thrown out the books with advice regarding planting. So much for being scientific.

Many of the stone walls were added to the property after I added an extension to the house with all of the stone coming from the excavated ground. This wall is ten feet high and bears the brunt of some of the worst gales as well as supporting the garden ‘proper’. It is surprising that the climbing nasturtium is growing and flowering since I have not planted any in the garden above for over eight years.

Details of my flowering nasturtium which deserves a bravery award.

I know that the Rose of Sharon can seem common and seeds too easily for some. Here it is a welcome addition to my shrubberies and is seen in its Spring glory. Even the stems have an attractive colour.

This new Camellia ‘Principessa Baciocchi‘ is my latest addition and has just started to produce a few flowers. It has been the last to do so, but I am not sure if this is due to its youth or will be a regular feature.

Kerria Japonica and Spirea muddling together very well and in fact probably providing support for each other. Despite the moss the stone wall is one that was built when I moved here to provide a small semi-sheltered garden.

As usual, the crab-apple trees started flowering about a week ago oblivious to the weather. This is Malus ‘Evereste’ the first to appear.

Details of the blossoms on Malus ‘Evereste’.

Spurred on by the success of this Acer palmatum ‘Deshojo’ which is now about ten years old, I am experimenting with other small acers now that I have a modicum of shelter. I hope the others do as well.

This is not the prettiest picture, but is my answer to the drought last year and my reluctance to use my well for the garden. This new container holds a thousand litres and is filled from a downpipe covering about one sixth of the roof on the house. It was put in place just six days before I took the photograph. Proof that we have had a lot of rain if proof were needed!


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